Playing With Promise
The Sarasota Orchestra's Youth Orchestra Program has been hailed as one of the most exemplary youth programs in the Southeast. The nationally acclaimed artistic staff, conductors and coaches have created a learning experience for the young musician that is unparalleled in our community.
Whether striving to be a professional musician or fostering a lifelong love of music, students through the Sarasota Youth Orchestras realize and advance their vision. Participants stay in each ensemble for an average of two years. They master the skills and techniques of musical playing in addition to developing self motivation, leadership and personal growth. All ensembles are coached by members of the Sarasota Orchestra and the String Ensembles may also participate in a musicianship class to develop inner rhythm and style.
Youth Orchestra Ensembles
The Sarasota Orchestra Youth Program consists of seven orchestras, affording students the opportunity to participate in an ensemble comparable to their skill level.
Youth Orchestra Faculty
All faculty members are experienced musicians with excellent credentials and a strong commitment to teaching. Our instructors mentor each student’s unique needs and goals through both individual and group programs.
The Youth Orchestra program has taught thousands of young people to become better musicians. Many become performers with the Sarasota Orchestra or major symphony orchestras throughout the country.
Seven different orchestras rehearse weekly from September through April. Students progress through the program from string ensembles up to full orchestras. Auditions are held every year.
The Youth Orchestra Ensembles
For sixty years, the Sarasota Youth Orchestras have been providing young musicians of Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties with musical instruction, unique performing opportunities and the chance to study and perform classical music with their peers. Each of the eight ensembles performs three concerts a year, culminating in a final Spring Showcase performance.
TUESDAYS 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
- Chamber Strings – Ages 8-14, with 1 year of experience or completed our Summer Music Camp.
- Divertimento Strings – Ages 8-14, with 1-3 years of experience, developing first position.
- Camerata Strings – Ages 8-14, with 2-3 years of experience, fluent in first position, starting third position.
- Intermezzo Strings – Ages 10-17, with 3 or more years of experience, continuing to develop first and third positions through keys of 3 sharps / 3 flats.
- Symphonic Strings – Ages 10-17, with 3 or more years of experience, fluent in first and third positions, developing extended positions. Refining dynamic and articulation skills.
MONDAYS 5:15 PM - 7:45 PM
- Symphonic Winds – Ages 11-15, with 1-3 years of experience.
- Youth Symphony – Ages 11-18, with more than 3 years of experience and the maturity to participate in a full orchestra. All students demonstrate solid technique. String students are developing extended positions.
- Youth Philharmonic – Ages 13-19, comprised of advanced players whose technique level is highly proficient, who show strong musicality and musicianship and who are capable of the discipline necessary to perform at the highest level.
School Participation Policy
Each participant in the Youth Orchestra program pays $305 tuition. This is in addition to the $25 application fee and is due upon invoice. The $305 tuition is only a fraction of the actual cost to Sarasota Orchestra per student. We are grateful to the Sarasota Orchestra Friends and the generosity of donors and granting organizations that help keep the costs to students reasonable.
Do you know a student that would enjoy being a part of our program? Help us spread the word and receive $20 off your tuition for each new student. Example: Talk with 5 new students that meet the requirements below and receive $100 off your tuition.
The Sarasota Orchestra is fortunate to be able to offer several types of scholarships. Through the generosity of many donors and numerous foundations, we are able to off-set tuition expenses. We also strongly believe in the benefit of private lessons and are able to help subsidize students’ lesson expenses. In addition, we offer scholarships for summer music camps and college music majors.
TUITION SCHOLARSHIPS: Need-based tuition scholarships are awarded to cover a portion of program cost (between 10% and 75%). Please include a letter of explanation. These letters can greatly help the committee with their decisions.
SIBLING SCHOLARSHIPS: The Sarasota Orchestra understands that many families have more than one child in our program. To help off-set these expenses, we offer a reduced tuition rate to families with more than one student participating in the Youth Orchestra Program. Often these are 50% scholarships. For example, $305 for the first child, $152.50 for each additional child. You must request this scholarship on
FELLOWSHIPS: Need-based FULL TUITION scholarships (excluding application fee) are awarded to families having a combined income of $24,000 or less. Note: applicants for a full tuition scholarship must provide full income disclosure (IRS 1040 Form, page one, front and back) and explanation of scholarship need. Full scholarships cannot be granted without this documentation.
PRIVATE LESSON SCHOLARSHIPS: These are awarded to Youth Orchestra participants to help defray a percentage of the cost of private lessons (38 lesson maximum Sept.-June).
Young Artists Competition
Young Artists Competition
Each year, up-and-coming young musicians from across the region compete for the opportunity to perform as soloists in a concert with the Orchestra.